At this point one of the major differences between large and smaller enterprises presents itself.
A smaller organisation may not ‘have’ to conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP) process (sometimes called an RFT ‘request for tender) while larger enterprises will have procedures for investment which require an RFP for solutions which cost over a set threshold.
If you don’t follow the RFP route it would be useful to interact with your vendors and ask them to respond on your requirements. Request a response from the vendor on your requirements – you can share your completed requirements and ask them to state whether their solution fully, partially or does not provide the requested functionality. This will take a little time (a week or so is about average but it will depend on the depth of your requirements). Vendors are keen to get your business and will arrange conference calls or demos which will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and close out less obvious requirements gaps.
They may also have trial system access which will enable you to interact with the solution and get a feel for the functionality and user experience. Don’t pick too many solutions to check out as you will find yourself inundated with data and follow up calls from vendors.
Be clear with the vendor regarding what you want to see from any demonstration. If you don’t specify the content you will end up seeing all their ‘nice’ stuff, the bells and whistles, and potentially not the functionality your business needs which they may or may not handle so well.
For larger organisations, having a procurement resource on your team is invaluable at this point. They will help frame the selection criteria and provide insight into the next steps. Depending on the extent of your procurement function they may have the capability to conduct initial searches for you and they will incorporate your requirements into the company RFP template. They will be able to walk you through the RFP process – setting out timelines, engagement rules and scoring systems.
If you don’t have access to a procurement professional here are a few links to RFP templates which will get you started (non profit or short RFP). Start preparing the RFP early so that you are ready to issue once you have identified suitable vendors.
Examples of selection/scoring criteria may include a breakdown such as the below
- Support capability and project resources
- Vendor solvency and reputation
- Integration capability
I believe that usability is the key selection criteria for HR systems. What would your highest ranking criteria be? Any of the above or something else? Please share.